Lawyers for convicted drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman have filed a motion that could lead to a retrial — citing a juror’s tell-all interview that exposed the panel’s rampant dysfunction and disregard for trial procedure.
The motion, filed Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court, seeks an evidentiary hearing to sort out whether the anonymous juror’s bombshell claims to Vice News — including that panelists ignored the judge’s orders to avoid news coverage of the case — denied El Chapo a fair trial.
“In a case generating publicity the Court called ‘unparalleled,’ a juror contacted a reporter a day after the verdict to volunteer that panel members had violated their oath and scorned the Court’s incessant instructions by actively following and discussing the blizzard of media coverage, and falsely denying it upon judicial inquiry, throughout the three-month trial,” argued attorneys Marc Fernich and Jeffrey Lichtman in the 26-page filing.
“If a justice system’s measure is how it treats the most reviled and unpopular, then ours may have failed Joaquin Guzman by denying him the fair trial before an untainted jury to which he’s constitutionally entitled,” the filing continued.
Guzman, 61, was convicted in February on all counts, including operating a criminal enterprise and conspiring to import and distribute cocaine, heroin and marijuana.